Jaunty Dame: You’ve been raising chickens for some time now, and I understand that a male named Foghorn was raising cain in the hen house. How did you establish yourself as Alpha Rooster?
In chickens this works out as Foghorn can mount any hen, any time, anywhere. Whitney-the only other rooster-can mount any hen Foghorn isn’t interested in or if Foghorn isn’t around to stop him. Foghorn attacks and flogs anyone he feels might be a threat to his rule over the flock. Last week he chased one of Silas’s big strong wood-chopping buddies, who ran into a clothesline and ended up with a bloody nose. Pretty swift work for a very short guy who only weighs five pounds soaking wet with his heavy boots on.
Here’s how I came to be the Alpha Male.
First I elected myself to the office (again, reference LDS history for precedent)
Then I roughed up the rooster.
I marched out in the barnyard and gave Foghorn a swift kick in the tail feathers. He was riled-and came back at me and I picked him up with my croc shod foot and swished him to the side. He came back for more, I stomped, roared and chased him away! He could see I was a tough character. Whitney watched every move.
Next I brought out food for the chickens and chased Foghorn and Whitney away, telling them “No food for you until the ladies eat!” And I keep that rule, the roosters can’t come up and start eating until all the hens are eating.
Also any time I see a rooster try to mount a hen I smack/shove/kick them away and tell them, “Not when I’m around buddy! They’re MY girls!”
IN just a couple of days they ‘got it’ that I’m the alpha–no one breeds or eats without my permission, I rule over Foghorn, Whitney is 3rd in line…..the little banty hen is way last….
I no longer have to “be careful” in the chicken yard for fear Foghorn will attack me–he wouldn’t dare. Once every couple of three days I take a swat at him or chase him across the yard just to remind him who is in charge.
When I open their door in the morning they come out in order. Foghorn always comes out next to last, and is Always hesitant coming out the door and is watching me like a hawk. He’s afraid of me, which is excellent.
Three Important Points:
1– A “happy flock” is not like a happy family…..chickens don’t “love” each other. Even chicken “mothering” is not emotion based, but is about flock survival and instinctive self-interest. I’d never treat kids like this, but kids have greater reasoning skills than chickens. You gotta work on their level. With chickens, if everyone is eating and laying eggs and trotting around clucking and all that-that’s a happy flock of chickens. It doesn’t mean given the chance they wouldn’t eat each other-they’re sincerely dedicated to their cannibalistic principles.
2– When I ‘kick’ a chicken it doesn’t hurt them—they’re ‘light as a feather’ and I don’t really make any contact with muscle-just ruffle their feathers. Plus they have excellent reflexes and see your foot coming their way and instantly back away. The point is not to do harm, the point is to show them who is in control.
3– I also pick the hens up and pet them a lot, talk to them about the weather , check them over for injuries and stuff. Eventually I’ll do that with the roosters too, but this early on in their training they’re not about to let me get that close if they can help it. Which is fine for now.